Does Santa Wrap Presents or Do They Come Unwrapped?

It seems Christmas comes earlier with each year, though in reality the time of course hasn’t changed. We just somehow manage to pack more into it year after year. One of the stresses is certainly associated with gift-giving and trying to create the perfect Christmas for our kids. So along that line, does Santa wrap the presents at your house or do they come ‘as is’ under the tree?

It’s estimated almost 5 million pounds of wrapping paper are produced in the US annually, so it seems Santa (or his helpers) wrap a lot of presents each Christmas. However, there is a growing number of homes where Santa leaves presents unwrapped. This not only saves time and money, but also trees.

Find out more from this article. I’ll discuss a lot about Santa and the presents, why some kids find wrapped presents under the tree, while others have unwrapped. Also, I’ll tackle some related questions like who makes the toys, where Santa lives, and how you can display gifts under the tree.


Christmas Gift Wrapping Paper- Overview

According to SEMA Reports, the US gift wrapping paper industry continues to grow despite environmental concerns and economic woes, with 2017 data showing almost 12 billion dollars total. This includes traditional gift wrap, paper gift bags, specialty wrapping papers, and recyclable paper wrapping materials.

Though wrapping gifts can be traced to ancient China, Hallmark is credited for wrapping paper for sale as we know it. Back in early 1900s, the Hall brothers who started the Hallmark company ran out of tissue paper for wrapping, so they started printing patterned rolls. Thus, a new custom began.

Now, gift wrap has become intertwined with holiday gifts. It’s commonplace to give a gift wrapped in glossy or glittery paper, tied up with a satiny bow. And likewise, quite unusual to give a gift unwrapped.

Some Gift Wrap Trivia:

  • Wrapping paper is rarely reused on a gift.
  • 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper goes to the trash each year, by estimation.
  • Best-selling Holiday Wrapping Paper on Amazon is Reversible Hallmark Paper
  • Many wrapping paper producers have stopped using glitter on paper because it is not recyclable.
  • Target is rated the number one store for buying wrapping paper.
  • Average household uses 4 rolls of wrapping paper per Christmas
  • Hallmark has led the industry in wrapping paper, introducing gift bags in 1987, which have been the preferred wrap for consumers ever since.

Does Santa Wrap Presents Or Are They Simply Under The Tree?

So to address the wrapped or unwrapped presents under the tree question, let’s consider the different scenarios, and what’s meant.

Some parents say Santa wrapped presents, or his elves, while others take credit themselves for wrapping gifts. Another scenario is that presents remain unwrapped. Many families are starting to go with this option as a way to save time, money, and be more environmentally-friendly.

As for those homes with wrapped presents under the Christmas tree, there are two ways to handle this usually. First, those who want their children to ‘believe in Santa’ may wrap the gifts, and simply say Santa did it, or to be more accurate, Santa’s helpers, the elves did.

Because as most Santa stories go, Santa doesn’t normally wrap presents. He drives the sleigh, comes down the chimneys, and then places stuff under the Christmas tree. The elves make the toys and wrap them at the North Pole workshop.

However, some parents may tell kids that they-the parents-wrap the presents for Santa, after he brings them, in order to help Santa out. Logistically, it might just be easier for parents to relay it this way.

If you leave the gifts unwrapped (i.e. ‘Santa doesn’t wrap presents’), you reduce the Christmas morning clean-up exponentially!

It’s becoming more common in some households to put unwrapped presents under the tree. This is much less aggravating for parents, too, which probably is why it’s growing in popularity. Not only is money saved skipping the wrapping paper, but also a lot of time! And for families who’ve experienced any Christmas with kids, you know precisely how much waste is caused by wrapping paper!

Other Reasons Santa Shouldn’t Wrap Christmas Presents

Besides reasons already given for Santa (or you) not wrapping presents, another reason to not wrap gifts is because it makes it easy to know who the gifts belong to. This way there isn’t any misunderstandings about who gets what. You can simply see the gift and know who to hand it to.

By seeing the gifts, you also know what you bought. Sometimes it gets tricky trying to remember what you’ve already bought. This can lead to forgetting to get someone the gift you meant to get and so on. You can just easily see what’s there and know if you need to buy something more.

On Christmas morning when all the presents are under the tree, having them unwrapped creates a stunning visual for the whole family to see. The excitement and joy of Christmas is magnified even more upon seeing the gifts completely staged!

What To Do Instead of Wrapping Christmas Presents

So there are other options families can take besides traditionally wrapping presents. Or just leaving them in their natural packaging.

  • Wrap gifts in reusable material like cloths and blankets
  • Wrap gifts inside related items; for instance, kitchen ware in towels; toys in boxes; and kids things inside pajamas
  • Cover gifts for each child in one item. For example, put all of one kid’s toys under a blanket for him or her.
  • Section gifts into stacks or groups by person leaving them uncovered.
  • Reuse the same large box, basket, special pillow case like this from Amazon, or stocking for gifts every year.

And there’s also the argument for not giving ‘traditional multiple gifts’. Rather instead, buy one large gift per child. This reduces the need for wrapping in the first place, as well is a way to make the gift more meaningful.

A twist on giving presents is to give ‘experience’. Some families are doing an experience type gift, which again usually doesn’t require wrapping. Giving the gift of a monthly subscription; membership; trip; lessons or something similar are examples of this.

You might also like to try these Christmas-related articles next:

Related Questions to ‘Does Santa Wrap Presents?’

There are other issues that arise with Christmas as it relates to Santa Claus and presents, wrapped or not. Below I’ve addressed some of these.

Where Are Santa’s Toys Made? 

Santa Claus lives in the North Pole, according to traditional stories, and that’s where toys are made in his workshop by elves for Christmas.

The most common legend says that Santa’s toys are made in a workshop, though the actual location varies based on different cultures.

The most popular location for this is the North Pole. The real North Pole exists, but really this is not the same as the fictional ‘home’ of Santa, the elves, and his workshop.

The fictional home is colorful, Christmas-y, decorated, and lively even though it’s also cold and covered in snow.

The real North Pole is also very cold. National Geographic tells us that “the geographic North Pole is the northern point of the Earth’s axis of rotation.” It’s actually constantly shifting and moving, as it’s in the Artic Ocean.

Who Makes the Toys for Santa?

As already explained, Santa isn’t known for wrapping or even making the toys. Essentially Santa is the ‘delivery guy.’

Santa’s helpers, called elves, are little people who make the toys by hand at Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Elves also help care for the reindeer who ‘drive’ the sleigh that carries the packages and toys on Christmas Eve.

Common depiction of elves are that they are small, have pointy ears, and wear Christmas-y colors. Their clothes are pajama-like suits and they usually have on point hats to match. Since elves make the toys by hand for ‘all good boys and girls’, they have a reputation for being very hardworking.

Do Presents Go under the Tree Before Christmas?

Now another dilemma parents face is when to put the presents under the tree (or when does Santa put presents under the tree.)

Traditionally, presents go under the tree on Christmas Eve after kids have gone to bed. Parents (or ‘Santa’) places presents when kids won’t see them do it, if they are keeping with the Santa story. Along the same lines is to get up early in the morning to place the presents-before kids awake.

Now, for families not keeping the Santa myth alive, you can put presents under the tree anytime. As long as you trust kids not to try to sneak and unwrap them early or shake and guess the presents beforehand.

How Do You Display Presents Under a Christmas Tree?

You can display presents under a Christmas tree in many ways, depending on what works best for you and your style. You can keep it understated and simple, or pile them so they are taller than the Christmas tree itself. The options are limited only to your imagination.  

You can group presents by whom they go to. Stacking them so that it’s easy for recipients to know what’s theirs.

Or you can choose to spread them out based on sizes. Or sort them by the wrapping material you choose to use.

For us, I wrapped each child’s gifts in the same paper. Since we have four kids, I bought four different patterns of wrapping paper, usually coordinating with their personalities. Thus, each child’s presents were clearly known by the style for him or her and I didn’t have to put their names on the packages. For example, Ethan’s favorite color is red so I would often select a red Santa pattern for him. Lexi likes penguins, so I’d try to find a penguin design for her. Ronin would get reindeer going along with his name. And finally, since Brandon is the oldest, I’d select something more mature like a silver pattern or something with snow.

Special note: Regardless of how you stack the presents under the tree (or around it), make sure you keep them from light bulbs, fireplaces, and other hazards to avoid fire in the house. Also you don’t want to stack them so that they fall and break, or hurt someone.

Is It Safe to Put Presents Under the Tree Before Christmas?

In general, it isn’t safe to have presents under the tree before Christmas unless your home is very secure. Putting Christmas gifts under the tree early or for too long, especially where they’ll be easily seen from windows, can attract thieves.

Unfortunately, thieves are particularly active at the holidays as they know many houses will have ‘extras’ like electronics and expensive toys. In addition, people travel a lot during the Christmas season either to parties and get togethers or to visit family far away. This makes homes easy prey for thieves.  

Even though robbery is covered by insurance, that should not make you so comfortable to the extent you leave presents in plain view and susceptible to thieves.

Some people opt to hide or keep presents in garages or their car for safekeeping until Christmas Eve when it’s time to put them under the tree. This is probably better that placing near windows but still require vigilance. Make sure garages and cars are always locked, and like with the inside of the house, keep presents covered in cars and garages, too.

Why Do People Put Toy Trains Under Christmas Trees?

Many people like to do trainsets under the tree, encircling it, for a traditional look.

Toy trains are nostalgic for many since they were a common way to travel in the past and they evoke the feeling of an old-fashioned Christmas. Also toy trains have been used in many Christmas movies and scenes, so it’s become a common feature to place around a tree for decoration at the holidays.

Another reason to use toy trains around the Christmas tree is simply because of how pleasing they look. For adults and kids alike, seeing the toy train make its way around the Christmas tree is like watching toys in action. The effect is like seeing decorations come alive!

Wrapping Up Does Santa (Or His Helpers) Wrap Presents?

To wrap it up, ‘Santa doesn’t wrap presents.’ Santa’s helpers, the elves, can do the wrapping. Or in reality, parents wrap the presents for Christmas and might choose to give credit to Santa’s elves.

Parents who wish to minimize their costs at Christmas, as well as save themselves some time, may simply decide not to wrap presents at all. Rather presents can be displayed unwrapped under the tree, or they can be wrapped in non-traditional ways using one or more of the suggestions given above.

Don’t forget, it’s also an option to not do presents but give loved ones experiences like memberships, lessons, or small trips.

For further holiday reading, I recommend these Christmas-related articles next:

Sources News.Com; Wonderopolis

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